Haas Scholars

Justin Dela Cruz

Home is Where the Food is: Preserving Traditional, Filipino Cultural Practices

Kamayan, which in Tagalog means by hand, is the traditional, communal style of eating Filipino food without plates or utensils. Tusok-tusok, which translates into poke poke, are heavily-fried, Filipino street foods, usually cut into bite-sized pieces and eaten off wooden skewers and dipped in sweet and sour sauces. For Filipino immigrants, these traditional eating practices serve as sites of cultural nostalgia and recollections of a distant homeland. Utilizing ethnographies and interviews to study several Bay Area Filipino restaurants, Justin’s project explores the preservation of Filipino cultural cuisine practices through the styles of kamayan and tusok-tusok. His project invokes new meanings about Filipino public culture, elevating how cuisine is an invaluable locus which engenders new modes of thinking about everyday consumption.

  • Major: Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, Public Policy Minor
  • Mentor: Lok Siu, Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies